There’s just about a month until Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters. It might be the most eagerly anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe film yet. And yes, that’s a big claim. 2018’s Black Panther was also one of the most hotly anticipated films, and it lived up to its promise. It grossed $1.3 billion and is the 14th highest grossing films of all time. It was the MCU’s first film that centered on a Black character. Of course, Marvel did have the Wesley Snipes-led Blade franchise, but that franchise pre-dates the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Mike Colter starred in two seasons of the Luke Cage series, one season of Jessica Jones and one season of The Defenders on Netflix, but those were TV shows (and we’re not sure it’s part of the current MCU, but we’re hoping to see Colter’s Luke Cage again).
Cage and Blade were anti-heroes; Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa wasn’t just a hero, he was royalty. He ruled over a hidden African nation, Wakanda, that had more advanced technology than anywhere in the world. Fans loved the film and eagerly hoped for a sequel. And one was in the works: back in 2019, Boseman was on-hand at San Diego Comic-Con to announce the second Black Panther film. Of course, just a few months later, the actor tragically died at the age of 43.
Marvel Studios rightfully decided not to recast King T’Challa. And also rightfully, they decided to keep telling stories of Wakanda. Wakanda was more than just another cog in Marvel’s massive machine; it was a source of inspiration for millions all over the world. But, clearly, Marvel and director Ryan Coogler needed to go back and re-write a Black Panther movie, without the Black Panther we had known. From what we’ve seen in the trailer, Wakanda is mourning for T’Challa, as the cast — and we, the audience — mourn for Chadwick Boseman. There’s a sense of purpose to this film that most films – thankfully – don’t have to deal with. As Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said, “We’re going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud.” We’ll see, when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens on November 11. For now, here are some suggestions to get you prepared for the film.